Last year Disney World and Disneyland launched their replacement for the FastPass system, which replaced the ability to skip the line on key attractions for free with a new paid option. While this actually put Disney in in with many other parks who already charged for this ability, Disney took it a step further by offering an entirely separate option to pay to skip the line on its most popular attractions, and now Six Flags Magic Mountain has followed suit by doing the same on four roller coasters.
Six Flags Magic Mountain already had a ticket add-on called Flash Pass, which allowed guests to skip lines on about 20 rides for between $80 and $180 per ticket, depending on which flavor of pass you want, the more expensive options advertised greater wait reductions. Now, according to the OC Register, Magic Mountain is now offering single-use Flash Pass options for between $5 and $25 per person per ride on four coasters, Twisted Colossus, West Coast Racers, Full Throttle, and Goliath.
The system works very similarly to Disneyland and Disney World’s Individual Lightning Lane option, where guests are able to choose the return time they want to come back to the ride and skip the line. Unlike the Disney options these four rides are still available through the standard Flash Pass option as well. At the Disney the Genie+ option that covers most of the rides, and the Individual Lightning Lanes, cover separate rides with no overlapping.
There’s certainly a reason that a system like this could be preferable for some guests. If the four rides with the individual pricing are the ones you really want to do, then even buying a pass for all four will likely cost less than the full Flash Pass option. In a couple of cases the full Flash Pass only gave you one ride skip on these rides anyway.
It’s little surprise to see another park following Disney’s lead, even so soon after Disney implemented this change, Disney is the leader in the theme park industry and they largely dictate what is considered normal. Once it’s ok at Disney, it’s probably ok everywhere else.
And Magic Mountain is the crown jewel of the Six Flags empire. It has, at various points in time, been the roller coaster capital of the nation, and so it’s still a pretty big deal in the game even if it’s seen as more of a regional player than Disney or Universal. Other Six Flags parks have been playing with this payment structure and one assumes that trying it in a big way at Magic Mountain will be a big test for the rest of Six Flags doing the same.
Assuming that there isn’t massive backlash to this new pricing structure, it certainly won’t be going anywhere. And the more locations that do it, the more normal it becomes. It feels like we might actually be going full circle to the days when all amusement parks charged per ride. Of course, back when they did that, admission wasn’t nearly as expensive.